Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"We're bleeding...Para sa bansa 'yun"

TOKUSHIMA, Japan. – As the voice of national coach Chot Reyes started to crack with emotion in front of his players and tears fell, telecommunications tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan stepped back, took off his glasses and gently dabbed his eyes.

Grief over watching an Olympic dream die can overwhelm even the most astute of global business minds.

“How depressed am I? Honestly? Very depressed,” said Pangilinan, owner of the Talk ‘N Text Phone Pals. “Sabi nga ni Chot, we’re bleeding. Para sa bansa ’yun.”

Pangilinan, president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, had risen from his table to greet a group of reporters who arrived late for a dinner he hosted at a restaurant in front of the Tokushima Prince Hotel where the national team was billeted.

And he was to go back to his hotel room to pack and catch a dawn flight to Hong Kong. But he stayed a while to address questions from sportswriters and bare his anguish after Reyes’ touching speech.

“It’s not the end of the world for Philippine basketball, But sometimes, minsan, talagang nakakawala ng pag-asa,” he said.

“Sometimes you think, ‘ganito na lang ba?’ Parang, ‘O my God, will we ever make it?’ You find yourself asking that question. Tao ka lang, ’di ba? But there’s still tomorrow. We just have to do better.”

A man used to looking at even the direst of situations from a positive perspective, Pangilinan said the loss to Jordan and consequent elimination from contention in the 24th FIBA-Asia Championship that Tuesday night could be a “strategic loss.”

Expounding, he said: “Sometimes there are more lessons to be learned from losing than from winning. Let’s learn from it. We should be able to analyze what we need to do.”

The team’s disbandment appears apparent since the next major international tournament after the 24th Southeast Asian Games in Thailand in December and the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the target of the entire Philippine involvement in Tokushima, is the 2009 qualifying tournament for the World Championship in Istanbul, Turkey in 2010 where Asia has three representatives.

Pangilinan said that matter will be discussed when a review is made later, as with the possibility of getting one player for naturalization which the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) allows per team.

“You’ve seen a number of them. Nakita mo si [Rasheim] Wright [of Jordan], yung pumatay sa’tin? Amerikano ‘yon,” Pangilinan said. “Kailangan naman medyo balansehin natin. Pero huwag naman wholesale nating i-naturalize sila because the victory will be hollow.”

PBA chairman Ricky Vargas had gathered the ashen-faced players after dinner and thanked them profusely for their effort, assuring them that the PBA and the SBP were one with them every step of the way.

Then Reyes spoke, gravely at first, as he took responsibility for the failed mission, before his voice broke.

“I would go through the whole experience again with these boys,” said Reyes, his left hand on the heaving shoulders of forward Kerby Raymundo whose face was buried in his hands as muted sniffles filled the room.

News item from the official website of the Philippine Basketball Association


ryan's spool said...

basketball really isn't our thing, we must come into our senses that it is not really for us...

we don't even have an all filipino team...

Ducks said...

Hi Ryan. Good to hear from you ha! Hows the soon-to-be 26 year old engineer?=) Similar points were also raised by another blogger, Inggitero, in http://planet.naga.gov, in connection with this entry.

However, regarding your comment and that of Inggitero, I'd like to agree on some of your observations. But I wish to offer a different point-of-view regarding some of the things that you both pushed forward. I'll say it through a post in the future, very soon. =) Lemme finish first with all the urgent things here in the office. Kayod muna! hehehe Happy blogging ray!

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